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Research Report

Program on Economic Agendas in Civil Wars:: Principal Research Findings and Policy Recommendations

Karen Ballentine
Copyright Date: Apr. 1, 2004
Pages: 23

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[i])
  2. (pp. [ii]-[ii])
  3. (pp. 1-3)

    The Program on Economic Agendas in Civil Wars (EACW) was launched in 2000 in response to a convergence of political factors, academic interests, and policy concerns that pointed to the need for conflict prevention and resolution policies to be informed by a systematic understanding of the economic dimensions of contemporary civil wars. Preliminary studies undertaken by the International Peace Academy, the World Bank, and university researchers generated many of the broad propositions that guided the program’s research and policy development design.¹ These included assumptions that:

    Economic factors are consequential to warring elites’ decisions to pursue war and peace;

    Economic greed...

  4. (pp. 3-9)

    The commissioned research generated several important findings, some of which have necessitated refining or revising the guiding propositions. Other findings have had research and policy implications unforeseen at the program’s outset, but which were subsequently incorporated into the research design and policy development activities. In all, there was a recognition that the focus on the economic motives and behavior of combatants and other actors in conflict zones and the workings of the global conflict trade needed to be better situated in the broader political economy of conflict, including the permissive opportunity structure for violent rebellion created by weak states, economic...

  5. (pp. 10-11)

    From the outset, the program’s policy development efforts were predicated on the assumption that a better understanding of the local, regional, and global economic dimensions of armed conflict could contribute to more comprehensive and effective regulatory policies and mechanisms. As other analysts have observed, contemporary civil war economies present policymakers with a “malign problem structure,”10 characterized by a heterogeneous set of actors with strong incentives to evade regulation, a lack of empirical and normative consensus as to which activities are legitimate and which are illegitimate and ought to be regulated, competing and ill-defined regulatory jurisdictions, and asymmetrical costs and benefits....

  6. (pp. 11-16)

    Policy efforts to prevent and resolve violent conflict by addressing the economic conditions and activities that fuel it are still nascent. Like all new policy areas, these efforts have been marked by caution, selective coverage, and weak enforcement. This said, there are a number of promising initiatives and mechanisms that bear further development:

    i) Targeted UN Sanctions Perhaps the single most robust instrument deployed to curtail the reciprocal flows of finances, natural resources, and arms to combatant groups are the commodity and arms embargoes, travel bans, and financial freezes imposed by the Security Council against rebel and/or government actors in...

  7. (pp. 19-20)